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May 25, 1935


JAMA. 1935;104(21):1910. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760210042013

Few conditions have been so imperfectly understood as status thymicolymphaticus. There has been no agreement on a definition for this condition, on its essential pathologic or physiologic features, or on its etiology. The diagnosis status thymicolymphaticus or "thymic death" has far too frequently served to conceal the examiner's ignorance of the real cause of death. It has been supposed that the condition depends in some way on hyperfunction or dysfunction of the thymus. Such relationship has not been demonstrated, and evidence is lacking that the thymus is a factor in the mechanism of death in the cases so assigned. Even in the rare cases in which the thymus is so enlarged as to embarrass respiration by pressure on the trachea, death has not been shown to be the result of such obstruction. Indeed, some authors1 relegate status thymicolymphaticus to the realm of medical mythology. The condition was recently made